What Are Some of the Most Common Safety Violations That Result in Commercial Truck Accidents?
Posted on June 13, 2019 in Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are not as common as car accidents, but they can pose greater danger to a car’s driver than a typical accident. Injured drivers involved in truck accidents can sustain severe injury because commercial trucks are much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles. These differences result in dangerous collisions that could prove to be fatal for the car driver involved.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Much like in car accidents, many different factors are at play when a truck collides with another vehicle. Many of the causes pertain to safety violations caused by the driver or the truck’s company.
Hours of Service Violations
Truck drivers and companies must adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Part of FMCSR pertains to the number of hours in which a truck driver can safely operate their vehicle, and the breaks they must take in between locations. Truck drivers might deviate from this standard to appease their employer or make extra money. Driver’s who exceed the number of hours outlined by safety regulations can suffer from driver’s fatigue which can cause issues like falling asleep at the wheel and improper judgment calls.
Truck drivers must log the hours they drive every day. Some drivers illegally keep two logbooks in case law enforcement asks to see the hours they’ve driven. One logbook contains their hours that breach FMCSR, while the second is a false account that contains legal service hours.
Traffic violations are common between truck drivers and passenger car drivers. Human beings who are prone to mistakes operate both types of vehicles, though truck drivers are more likely to cause significant damage when negligent. Common mistakes that truck drivers make are:
- Improperly changing lanes
- Improperly merging
- Failing to yield
- Running red lights
Traffic violations caused by trucks can lead to horrific accidents like pile ups. This makes driver accountability especially important for truck drivers.
FMCSR establish guidelines for proper vehicle maintenance. These standards require truck companies to maintain adequate lighting systems, brake systems, tires, and mirror systems. Truck companies must inspect their vehicles daily to ensure the safety of the truck. Tire maintenance is one aspect of truck safety that many truck companies skimp on. For instance, a truck company might use re-capped tires – old tires that have new tread applied to them – versus new buying new tires altogether.
Loading rules dictate how heavy a truck can be while operating on the road. Violating loading rules makes a truck harder to maneuver and control on the road. Loading rules also establish guidelines in securing cargo inside of a truck. If a company does not properly load their cargo, they can throw off a truck’s center of gravity.
Driving Under the Influence
Truck drivers are also susceptible to driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or other impairing drugs. Operating any sort of heavy machinery is dangerous while under the influence, driving a truck on any roadway in this condition is fatal. If a truck driver operates their vehicle while intoxicated, both the driver and the company they work for face legal repercussions.
Medical Examination Violations
Each truck driver must obtain a Medical Examiner’s Certificate. This certificate ensures the driver’s employer that they are physically fit to drive their commercial vehicle. Some drivers operate their truck using an expired certificate or even drive without one. This is dangerous because truck drivers who aren’t capable of safely operating their vehicles can cause unnecessary accidents.
Truck companies and/or drivers cause accidents in numerous ways. When sharing the road with a commercial truck, remain alert to prevent potential collisions. By maintaining awareness on your end, you decrease the likelihood of being involved in a truck accident.